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How to Check for Burst Pipes

Updated: Jan 21, 2020

With the cold weather moving in, burst pipes are often unavoidable.  But, if the leak isn’t in the open it can often go unnoticed for an extended period of time. Here are a few ways that you can tell if there is a leak in your home.

  1. Check the water meter.

The easiest way to check for leaks is to look at your water meter. The way to do this is by shutting off everything in your home that may be using water. Make sure no one is showering, the dishwasher isn't running, and there are no faucets are on. Then, watch your water meter and see if there is any change. If you notice that it is moving (even when there is no water running through your home) then this is could be a sign that you have a fast-moving leak.

If you don’t notice a change, leave everything off and come back in a couple of hours and see if it moved at all. If it did, then you could potentially have a slow leak somewhere in your pipes.

  1. Watch your usage.

This may seem obvious, but keep an eye on your water bill. Your bill should show the amount of water used each month. If the bill has 10’s of thousands of gallons used for a normal-sized family, then there is most likely a leak somewhere in your home. If you watch your bill and it consistently is around the same amount, then you should be able to catch a leak easily when it occurs.

You should also look for a leak if your habits haven’t changed but your bill amount is rising.

  1. Look outside

Burst pipes don’t just happen inside your home. Check your outside spigots, as these are a common area for a water burst to happen. Even a small crack could waste over 6 thousand gallons per month.

  1. Be aware

We also suggest regularly checking in the back of your cabinets and around anything that has water lines. Look for mold, dampness, or a bad smell. Any of these would be a sign that you have a leak somewhere. If a burst pipe has been running for a long time, it could release a large amount of moisture into a home. Always call a professional water damage company to help dry the area out. If you have an older home, then pay special attention because the pipes can be deteriorating. Consider replacing your washing machine hoses every 5-8 years to prevent them from bursting.

Remember, that the broken pipe could be underground and you may not be able to see it. If you do suspect a leak call a plumber before there is significant water damage.


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